Miles Davis: Bags Groove

Miles Davis: Bags Groove

Analogue Productions  CPRJ 7109 SA

Mono Hybrid


Miles Davis (trumpet)
Sonny Rollins (tenor saxophone)
Milt Jackson (vibraphone)
Thelonious Monk (piano)
Horace Silver (piano)
Percy Heath (bass)
Kenny Clarke (drums)

These SACD jackets feature printed wraps mounted to chipboard shells, producing an authentic, "old school" look and feel. Some people call these "mini LP" jackets.
There are a multitude of reasons why Bags’ Groove remains a cornerstone of the post-bop genre. Of course, says All Music Guide, there will always be the lure of the urban myth surrounding the Christmas Eve 1954 session — featuring Thelonious Monk — which is documented on the two takes of the title track. There are obviously more tangible elements, such as Davis’ practically telepathic runs with Sonny Rollins (tenor sax). Or Horace Silver’s (piano) uncanny ability to provide a stream of chord progressions that supply a second inconspicuous lead without ever overpowering.

Indeed, Davis’ choice of former Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra and concurrent Modern Jazz Quartet members Milt Jackson (vibes), Kenny Clarke (drums), and Percy Heath (bass) is obviously well-informed. This combo became synonymous with the ability to tastefully improvise and provide bluesy bop lines in varied settings. The up-tempo and Latin-infused syncopation featured during the opening of "Airegin" flows into lines and minor-chord phrasings that would reappear several years later throughout Davis’ Sketches of Spain epic. The fun and slightly maniacally toned "Oleo" features one of Heath’s most impressive displays on Bags’ Groove. His staccato accompaniment exhibits the effortless nature with which these jazz giants are able to incorporate round after round of solos onto the larger unit. Bags’ Groove belongs as a cornerstone of all jazz collections.

Originally released in 1957.

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7 of 8 recommend this, would you recommend it?  yes | no

Analogue recording
1. Bags' Groove (Take 1)
2. Bags' Groove (Take 2)
3. Airegen
4. Oleo
5. But Not For Me (Take 2)
6. Doxy
7. But Not For Me (Take 1)
Comments (1)

Comment by Downunderman - December 9, 2019 (1 of 1)

Firstly, a great title......though the multiple takes of a couple of the tracks do not exactly make for a cohesive listening experience.

Packaging is pretty much the same as what MiFi uses, but without the individual numbering. So it fits right in on the shelf next to the MoFi releases.

Mastered by Kevin Gray and according to the AP website: "mastered from the original analog master tapes. In the case of the monos, that’s the original mono masters". I'm presuming we are talking the ones from 1957 as opposed to the 1954 tapes. As I have seen it suggested that the 1954 tapes were destroyed when RVG did the 1957 ones. It would be nice to know either way.

I don't have any previous experience with this title and so can't make comparisons, but was pleasantly surprised by how well it sounded. Heck, I wasn't even born when they recorded this! That said, it is not as good sonically as many of the MoFi MD releases.

Two things stood out for me - It sounded a little recessed and the vibes seemed way too forward (in volume and placement) in the mix. Just me? Recorded that way? I can't say.

Is this reproduction of the title is as good as it gets? Also the subject of some debate around the traps.

It would certainly be great to hear the opinions of others.

Nb. There are a couple of reviews over on the old site which may be of interest :